Monday, December 7, 2009

FESTIVE GREETINGS from all of us at TreeCo!

It is almost unbelievable that we have reached the end of yet another year!

We have weathered disasters such as the floods, but all in all we are grateful to have had an excellent year, enabling us to expand our nursery, thereby facilitating all of our valued client’s businesses, by providing an even bigger and better selection of top quality trees to choose from.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your ongoing support and we look forward to working together with you, making 2010 a truly spectacular year for all.

We will be closed from the 15th December to the 11th January so order now to avoid disappointment.

We wish all our valued clients a blessed, safe and peaceful holiday season.

Bringing the Environment and Local Communities Together

This month Rudi and Leske had the pleasure of being able to donate 15 trees to the youth of CASE (Community Action towards Safer Environment) in Hanover Park, enabling them to work towards the betterment of their community. We felt honoured to receive the following letter from Duncan Souchon after the planting had taken place.

The CASE youth (Community Action towards a Safer Environment) of Hanover park spent the day of Sunday the 15th November planting trees donated by TreeCo in their school and community. TreeCo very kindly donated 15 beautiful trees to CASE as part of their Leadership and Environmental development programme with Educo Africa. The students got to planting the trees with great enthusiasm and were part of the decision-making of where they wanted the trees in their school. They chose for 3 trees to be planted outside the staff room, and 7 trees on the school perimeter near their youth hall. The wind could not blow away their spirits, and by lunch time, the ten trees were standing tall in their new homes with everything they needed; compost, water, and love.

After the photo session with the whole youth group standing proudly around their trees, the greater community was invited to attend a ceremony where the students had an opportunity to present their experiences and learning’s around leadership to their friends, family and community. The final 5 trees were then donated to this community as a whole to be planted anywhere in Hanover park that they choose. We would like to extend a huge token of thank you’s to TreeCo for helping to affect young people’s lives positively by giving them the opportunity to take a strong leadership role in their community and make a long term difference to the way the place looks.

Duncan Souchon

Spectacular Monthly Tree - December 2009

The Podocarpus falcatus or Outeniqua yellowwood is a tall, elegant evergreen with a straight, cylindrical trunk that offers a fantastic indigenous option for a Christmas tree, with the added benefit, of providing a magnificent addition to the garden where it will bestow countless years of pleasure. Read this month’s TreeCo Tree Review for in depth information on this superb tree.

At TreeCo we have a large stock-holding of the Podocarpus falcatus available and urge you to place your orders with us early to avoid disappointment!

Botanical Name: Podocarpus falcatus
Common Name: Outeniqua yellowwood
Size Available: 50kg
Quantity in Stock: 100
Average Tree Height: 2.3m
Average Trunk Thickness: 3cm


Botanical Name: Podocarpus falcatus
Common Name: Outeniqua yellowwood
Size Available: 1000kg
Quantity in Stock: 6
Average Tree Height: 3.5m
Average Trunk Thickness: 8cm

Should you require any further information, such as pricing details or should you wish to place an order, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at

Podocarpus falcatus (Outeniqua Yellowwood)


Botanical Name: Podocarpus falcatus
Common Name: Outeniqua yellowwood
Genus: Pinaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 16


The Outeniqua yellowwood is becoming increasingly popular as one of our loveliest indigenous specimen trees. This tall elegant evergreen adds distinction to any urban landscape, whether it is installed in a large garden, a park, or planted as an impressive avenue along a driveway or roadside. Where a really striking tree for a seaside garden is sought, Podocarpus falcatus is the answer, as it grows well in sandy soils and tolerates salt laden winds. This versatile tree makes an excellent container plant which can be used to add impact to patios and paved areas.


Height: 15m – 60m
Spread: 6m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Habit: Podocarpus falcatus occurs mainly in afromontane forest and occasionally in coastal or sand forest.
Bark: The bark of the Outeniqua yellowwood is smooth, thin and greyish brown to dark brown in colour, flaking in round or rectangular patches.
Foliage: The small, narrow, leathery, dark green leaves of this yellowwood are arranged spirally. They are twisted at the base, sharply pointed and are somewhat sickle shaped.
Flowers: This tree does not bear flowers.
Fruit: The cones are very primitive and reduced. Those on the male trees are almost catkin-like while on the female trees only one seed is produced at the end of a woody stalk.
Seed: The large, fleshy, spherical seed is about 15mm in diameter, turning a deep yellow and taking a year to mature. Seeds may be found on the tree for most of the year.


Growing regions: Podocarpus falcatus is found in the moist areas of the Southern Cape especially around Knysna but occasionally in wooded ravines, mountain forest or coastal swamp forest and extending North to Limpopo and East to Mocambique.
Growing conditions: The Outeniqua yellowwood grows well in all soil types provided it is well composted and receives adequate water.
Best season: All year
Hardiness: This stunning tree is sensitive to drought but tolerates light frost and can even be grown close to the sea.
Propagation: Propagation is mainly from seed. Remove the fleshy part and plant in a mixture of well rotted compost and sand. Germination can take up to 6 months.
Growth rate: The growth rate is average, from about 50cm per year.


The Podocarpus falcatus is well known for its valuable pale yellow wood. The wood has been traditionally used in the manufacture of fine furniture for many years, in fact, most of the famous yellowwood antiques are made from the wood of this tree. The straight stems were used for the topmasts and yards of ships. The hard, attractive timber is still highly sought after in boat-building today. The bark is used for tanning leather while the sap is used as a remedy for various chest complaints.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Update from Pearl Valley...

We are fortunate to have to date enjoyed a very long standing working relationship with Deon Weyers of Land-Art Environmental Solutions and when we spoke to him recently to enquire about the progress at Pearl Valley estate just outside Paarl, he gave us a rave review.

TreeCo supplied Deon with a sizeable quantity of 100kg trees for a particular site at Pearl Valley just 1 ½ years ago. These included Searsia pendulina, Nuxia floribunda, Syzygium cordatum and a range of Podocarpus. The trees are looking stunning on account of not only to the quality of the trees supplied, but also, as Deon stressed, the deep watering on a regular basis which is so important to promote optimum growth. At Pearl Valley, Deon has installed bubble jet irrigation to ensure that the water effectively reaches the roots of each tree.

Deon thanked us for our reliability, quick turn around time and for our personal service, as well as the follow up calls we make in order to establish that he is continuously satisfied with everything.

We strive to maintain this personal contact with all our clients as we believe that your success is ultimately, our success.

Your Big Tree Wholesale Nursery is Growing

Rudi and Leske are really excited to be able to tell you that our nursery is now even bigger! We have spent a most rewarding time bringing in truck loads of compost and planting up a huge amount of new stock, enabling us to offer you an even more extensive selection of top quality trees. Despite the floods, everything is looking spectacular at the moment, so please pop in and let us show you around.

Spectacular Monthly Tree - November 2009

The Syzygium cordatum or Waterberry is, as the common name suggests, a water-loving evergreen tree found on forest margins, near streams or in swampy areas. The elliptic to round leaves are bluish green on top and lighter green underneath. The fragrant white to pinkish flowers are borne in branched terminals and have numerous fluffy stamens which produce abundant nectar, attracting birds and butterflies to the tree. This very handsome tree grows to a height of 8-15m and provided it is kept well mulched and watered is a most rewarding addition to any landscape. The hard, heavy, though fine grained wood is pale reddish to grey and is extremely durable, especially in water. The bark provides a terracotta dye. The purple fruit is edible, though somewhat acid and is used to make an alcoholic drink. The Waterberry is well known for a diversity of medicinal remedies which have traditionally been used in many parts of Africa.

At TreeCo our Syzygium cordatum specimens are looking spectacular and due to their size, offer you exceptional value for money.

Botanical Name: Syzygium cordatum
Common Name: Waterberry (umdoni)
Size Available: 200kg
Quantity in Stock: 40
Average Tree Height: 3,0m
Average Trunk Thickness: 8cm
Should you require any further information, such as pricing details or should you wish to place an order, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at

Brachylaena discolor – Coast Silver Oak

The Brachylaena discolor is highly adaptable and particularly well suited to our harsh coastal conditions. The tree looks attractive throughout the year with its dense silvery foliage and, when in full bloom, the huge sprays of creamy-white thistle like flowers create the impression of snow in summer. These hardy, fast growing trees are invaluable as windbreaks and are excellent for stabilising sand dunes, where they will tolerate the extreme conditions and salt laden winds.


Botanical Name: Brachylaena discolor
Common Name: Coast Silver Oak
Genus: Asteraceae
RSA National Tree No’: 724


The Coast silver oak is useful for everyone with a seaside holiday home or garden, as it grows willingly and requires no special care. Being especially well suited to coastal conditions, these trees form excellent windbreaks and since they tolerate extensive pruning they can easily be trained into a dense, attractive hedge that will provide complete privacy within a year. The silvery foliage is an excellent foil for other garden plants and when in flower, the Brachylaena discolor is absolutely stunning, with the added advantage of attracting a host of butterflies to the garden. Whether it is planted as a specimen tree, pruned into a shrub or used as a hedging plant, the Coast silver oak is invaluable where a fast, attractive and care free solution is required.

Height: 7m
Spread: 4m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Habit: Brachylaena discolor occurs naturally on dunes and in coastal forests up to 2km inland.
Bark: The bark is dark grey to brownish grey and is rough and vertically fissured.
Foliage: The leaves of the Coast Silver Oak are lanceolate to obovate - 5-12 x 1,5-5cm. They are thin, leathery and dark green above with short silvery grey hairs underneath, giving rise to the name discolor.
Flowers: In spring the profusion of creamy white flowers are borne in large terminal panicles, the individual flowers resembling large, plump shaving brushes.
Fruit: The fruit, which is very small in size, appears as small nutlets tipped with tufts of yellowish hairs.
Seed: Seeds are located within the fruit and are exceptionally small.

Growing regions: Brachylaena discolor occurs in coastal bush along the east coast, from Kwa-Zulu Natal through to the Eastern Cape.
Growing conditions: The Coast Silver Oak is a willing grower and requires no special care when planted in ordinary garden soil.
Best season: All year
Hardiness: This useful tree is drought tolerant and moderately frost hardy.
Propagation: Propagation is quickest by hardwood cuttings taken in early spring and planted in sandy soil which should be kept moist.
Growth rate: The tree is fast growing, well over a metre annually.


The leaves of the Coast silver oak were traditionally used by rural dwellers to treat diabetes and an infusion of the roots is still used as an enema to stem stomach haemorrhaging. Early settlers used the ashes from the tree as an alkali in soap making. The yellow coloured wood, which has a slightly brown tinge, is hard and is highly valued for building and for implement handles.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Assisting our Local Communities

Spring is well and truly upon us and everything is once again bursting with life. Strolling around the TreeCo nursery is a real treat and a testament to Rudi and Leske’s commitment to growing only the finest quality trees - enabling you our valued client, to in turn offer your customers the very best.

During National Arbour Month, TreeCo had the honour of being given the opportunity to donate thirty trees to a most deserving institution.

Ligstraal school in Paarl serves intellectually and physically impaired learners from the surrounding farms and rural areas. Their focus is on developing improved literacy and numeracy skills as well as technology skills, enabling these otherwise disadvantaged learners to become an integral part of society in the future.

We spent a most rewarding day assisting the educators in developing a real interest amongst the learners as to the importance that trees play in creating and maintaining a healthier and more sustainable environment. We were able to explain and to demonstrate the correct way to plant and care for a tree and were thrilled by the enthusiasm shown by the learners.

We plan to make similar donations to various communities on a regular basis in future and would like to encourage all of you to do the same, working together 24/7/365, towards a greener, healthier planet for all.

Spectacular Monthly Tree - October 2009

The Rauvolfia caffra or Quinine tree as it is commonly known is a medium to tall tree that is generally found growing along river banks and on the margins of evergreen forests. This tree has a distinctive upright trunk and a spreading, rounded crown with glossy, bright green leaves that are borne in whorls of 3 to 6. Terminal sprays of sweetly scented flowers appear in spring followed by glossy green fruits with white spots that turn black as they mature. This highly decorative garden subject is much prized for its beautiful form and looks best when planted as a specimen on an open lawn. The common name refers to the thin, bitter latex which was once used to treat malaria but was later found to be ineffective. Reserpine which is obtained from the bark and root bark is used as a tranquilliser and to lower blood pressure.

Our 200kg Quinine trees are a really good deal at present, as they all have beautiful well established canopies and look very mature for their bag size.

Botanical Name: Rauvolfia caffra
Common Name: Quinine tree
Sizes Available: 50kg, 200kg
Quantity in Stock: 100 x 50kg, 30 x 200kg
Average Tree Height: 50kg - 3,0m, 200kg - 3,5 – 4,0m
Average Trunk Thickness: 50kg - 4cm, 200kg - 7cm

Should you require any further information, such as pricing details or should you wish to place an order, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at

Ravolfia caffra - 50kg

Rauvolfia caffra - 200kg

Acacia xanthophloea – Fever tree

The Acacia xanthophloea is well known as an exceptionally striking indigenous tree. With its remarkable sulphur – yellow bark, sparse, spreading crown of feathery foliage and tall upright growth, the Fever tree is one of our most sought after ornamental species. In its natural habitat Acacia xanthophloea is often found growing in large groups in swampy, low lying areas. This versatile tree is moderately drought resistant, but performs much better when given adequate water. The bright yellow sweetly scented globose flowers, appear from September to November attracting bees, butterflies, insects and insectivorous birds to the garden. The seed pods and young leaf shoots are eaten by baboons.


Botanical Name: Acacia xanthophloea
Common Name: Fever tree
Genus: Fabaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 189


The Fever tree is a stunning subject within any urban landscape. As a specimen on a large lawn it makes a magnificent statement and in winter, when the tree is bare, the lovely silhouette with its exceptional colour is a real show stopper. When planted in groups the Acacia xanthophloea lends a truly ethnic ambiance to the garden and can easily be under planted with a wide variety of greenery as the trees cast only light shade. As an avenue along a driveway or as a street planting, the Fever tree creates an absolutely unforgettable sight.


Height: 10 – 15m
Spread: 10 – 12m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Growth Habit: Acacia xanthophloea occurs naturally in bushveld and is generally restricted to river banks and low lying areas where it is often found in large groups.
Bark: The unusual bark is smooth with a powdery coating that is greenish yellow in colour but is green underneath if the powder is rubbed off. As the tree matures the bark flakes off in paper thin layers. The slender, white spines appear in pairs.
Foliage: The leaves of the Fever tree have 3 – 6 pairs of generally hairless pinnae. There are 8 – 20 pairs of leaflets per pinna. Petiolar glands are usually present at the base of the upper pinnae pairs.
Flowers: The sweetly scented, bright yellow, globose flowers appear in spring and are carried on slender stalks in the axil of the spines.
Fruit: The flat, papery, light brown pods are borne in clusters that ripen in late summer.
Seed: The flattish, dark brown seeds are released when the pods burst open at the end of summer.


Growing regions: Acacia xanthophloea is commonly found growing naturally in the Northern Province, Kwa – Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga.
Growing conditions: The Fever Tree enjoys a sunny aspect and grows really well when planted in a large hole with plenty of compost and regular deep watering.
Best season: Spring
Hardiness: This rewarding tree is moderately drought and frost hardy.
Propagation: Propagation is by seed which germinates easily after being soaked overnight.
Growth rate: Provided the Fever tree is watered regularly the growth rate is very fast, up to 1,5m annually.


The early settlers were the first people to refer to the Acacia xanthophloea as the Fever tree. The habitat of the malaria mosquito is the same as the tree, so on contracting malaria fever they attributed the disease to their proximity to the tree, being unaware that it was in fact the mosquito that carried the disease. The Fever tree is one of our most popular medicinal plants with the bark being used to alleviate fevers. The wood from this tree is heavy and hard and is used as a general purpose timber.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

TreeCo - Promoting a Greener Environment

Rudi and Leske are pleased to be able to tell you that our nursery has recovered really well from the floods last month and everything is looking absolutely stunning as we move into spring. As September is National Arbour month, we are offering clients a 10% discount on all purchases that you make when you visit the nursery, which we hope will assist you in your efforts towards creating a healthier, more sustainable and greener environment for all.

Since Arbour month creates greater awareness of the environment in general, this month, we would like to introduce you to Green Home, a company that is taking the lead in 100% biodegradable, compostable, food packaging and, more recently, plant pots.

This dynamic, primarily female owned company is headed up by Catherine Morris, who, after doing extensive research into biodegradable products overseas, returned to her home in Cape Town three years ago, where she proceeded to set up the successful, innovative business that Green Home is today.

With the constant progress being made in bio–technology, Green Home is able to supply an extensive range of cost effective, catering and food packaging items, using environment friendly plant based starches such as those derived from sugar cane and corn, which are completely biodegradable and will break down in a matter of weeks when thrown into the compost.

In line with the worldwide green revolution, it has become imperative for companies to reduce their carbon footprint and, to this end, Green Home promotes the green message by creating awareness and educating businesses on the importance of using recyclable packaging.

Green Home’s latest innovation is their unique compostable flower pot. These rustic looking pots are manufactured from wood shavings, straw and discarded mulch from wineries, which is combined with natural clays, and can be formed into various shapes. Currently there is only a 5cm pot available, but the range is being extended to include a variety of shapes and sizes. These pots will safely decompose when placed on the compost heap or discarded into the environment.

For more information regarding Green Home and their range of exceptional products, please visit or email Catherine Morris at


The Green Home 100% Biodegradable
5cm Flower Pot

Spectacular Monthly Tree - September 2009

The Sideroxylon inerme or White milkwood is a smallish, dark, evergreen tree and with its sturdy trunk and large, dense, rounded crown, is certainly one of our most beautiful shade trees. The upper surface of the leaves is a glossy dark green, whilst the underside is lighter. The leaves are broadly ovate with rounded tips and bases. Wherever leaves or branches are broken or cut a white, milky latex appears. Sideroxylon inerme is the only species of this genus that occurs in South Africa. Although this tree is not endangered it is protected, which means that no milkwood may be moved, damaged or felled. This is the famous “post office tree” of Mossel Bay which is a 600 year old specimen. Planted in a row, these trees create the most outstanding fire break, having the ability to stop a fire dead in its tracks. This superb foliage tree is an excellent choice for any garden.
At TreeCo we have a large stock-holding of the Sideroxylon inerme available and urge you to place your orders with us early to avoid disappointment!

Botanical Name: Sideroxylon inerme
Common Name: White milkwood
Sizes Available: 50kg, 100kg, 200kg
Quantity in Stock: 100 x 50kg, 50 x 100kg, 20 x 200kg
Average Tree Height: 50kg - 1,8 – 2,2m, 100kg - 2.5 – 3,0m, 200kg - 3,5 – 4,0m
Average Trunk Thickness: 50kg - 3cm, 100kg - 4cm, 200kg - 5cm

Should you require any further information, such as pricing details or should you wish to place an order, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at

Milkwood 50kg
Milkwood 100kg
Milkwood 200kg

Schotia brachypetala – Weeping boer bean

The Schotia brachypetala is a handsome medium sized tree with a low branching habit, a straight trunk and an attractive rounded crown. When the sweetly scented, deep crimson flowers appear in spring, the Schotia is nothing short of spectacular. The flowers produce copious amounts of sweet nectar that literally drips from the tree giving rise to its common name and attracting multitudes of sunbirds, weavers and any number of other birds that come to feast on the nectar. The Weeping boer bean loses it’s leaves shortly before spring but quickly develops fresh new growth. The new leaves are light brown to bronze in colour maturing to a rich glossy green. After flowering the Schotia develops seed pods which burst open when ripe and attract parrots and brown headed loeries that come to eat the seeds, thereby facilitating the distribution of the tree.


Botanical Name: Schotia brachypetala
Common Name: Weeping boer bean
Genus: Caesalpinioideae
RSA National Tree No’: 202


The Weeping boer bean, with it’s attractive shape and exceptional flower display, is an excellent choice where a decorative garden tree is sought. The waxy crimson flowers create a sensational show and the copious amounts of nectar attract a host of birds, bees and insects to the garden. When planted on a lawn Schotia makes a lovely shade tree or, planted to the back of a large mixed border it forms a dramatic backdrop. This tree should not be planted too close to patios and driveways as it might damage paving and the large amounts of nectar may weep onto parked vehicles.


Height: 11 – 22m
Spread: 10 – 15m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Growth Habit: Schotia brachypetala occurs in warm dry areas in bushveld, deciduous woodland and scrub forest and can often be found along river banks or on old termite mounds.
Bark: The bark of young trees is light brown and quite smooth but becomes darker and rougher, with a block like pattern, as the tree matures.
Foliage: The leaves of the Weeping boer bean are compound with 4 to 6 leaflets opposite or sub opposite. The leaflets are broadly elliptic, the margin is entire and they are smooth and wavy. The apex is rounded and finely pointed and the base is rounded and asymmetrical. The leaf is 180mm long and the leaflets are 63 x 40mm. New leaves emerge as a pale brownish colour, changing to light green and becoming dark and glossy with maturity.
Flowers: The conspicuous crimson flowers are borne in dense panicles on older branches. The sweetly scented flowers appear from August to October and release copious amounts of nectar.
Fruit: The pods are large, brown, slightly curved and resemble broad beans. They burst open from March to July releasing their seeds.
Seed: The 20mm seeds are pale brown, flattened and ovoid with a large conspicuous yellow aril. They germinate readily.


Growing regions: The Schotia brachypetala occurs at low altitudes from the Eastern Cape through Kwa Zulu Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga, Northern Province and into Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Growing conditions: The Weeping boer bean enjoys warm dry localities and thrives where summers are hot with moderate to low rainfall. Keep young trees watered at regular intervals until established.
Best season: Spring
Hardiness: This lovely tree is drought resistant once established. In areas with frost, plant it in a protected North facing aspect.
Propagation: The seeds germinate readily even after being stored for a while. Transplant the seedlings into deep sandy soil.
Growth rate: Quite slow, especially when young, but growth rate increases as tree gets older.


The seeds of the Schotia brachypetala are edible when roasted and while they do not contain large amounts of fat or protein, they are high in carbohydrates and were widely used as a valuable food source and as a coffee substitute by the early settlers. Extract made from the bark was a popular cure for heartburn and hangovers whilst red-brown and red dyes were also made from the bark. The wood is dark, fine grained and termite resistant, making it much sought after for fine furniture, carvings, floor blocks and wagon beams.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ravaging Floods at TreeCo – the ultimate test of quality!

Recent rains brought what could have potentially been debilitating floods to the nursery at TreeCo. Although the lush lawn between the tree rows will take some time to recuperate, we are very happy to say that not only have we not lost a single tree, but they are all still looking as incredible as they always do!

Have a look at some of the images from the flood below. We will follow-up with more photos next month to show you how the nursery is recuperating.

Arbour Week has become Arbour Month – stock up on Acacia galpinii before September!

As of the 1st September 2009 National Arbour week has been extended to National Arbour month thanks to the lobbying by FTFA ( Food and Trees for Africa ) on behalf of communities, schools, companies and individuals who take a special interest in planting trees at this time. In South Africa, Arbour day was first introduced in 1983 to raise awareness and interest in growing trees, and, due to its enormous popularity, was extended to Arbour week in 1997 and now in 2009 - Arbour month. The idea for Arbour day originated in Nebraska and was introduced by J. Sterling Morton. When on moving to this area from Detroit, he became aware of the need for planting trees to hold the soil, create windbreaks, provide fuel and building material, as well as for shelter from summer’s heat. Eventually Arbour day gained popularity and is now celebrated by numerous countries worldwide.

In South Africa, many of Arbour month’s events are organised by FTFA and the Department of Water and Forestry with the aim of educating the population on the important role that trees play in our environment. Trees are the largest and longest living organisms on our planet and without them people could not survive. Trees supply the most basic elements of life such as water vapour, oxygen, food, fuel and shelter as well as providing an efficient way to offset the carbon emissions of our modern world, that are a major contributor to global warming. In order to restore our ecosystems and improve our urban and rural environment, it is imperative that we all plant as many trees as possible, thereby creating a healthier planet for all, now, and into the future.

Acacia galpinii is the 2009 tree of the year and is featured in this month’s TreeCo Tree Review.

Spectacular Monthly Tree - August 2009

The Podocarpus falcatus or common yellowwood is a handsome, tall growing evergreen tree, reaching a height of 60m in nature but fortunately remaining considerably smaller in urban cultivation. This is the famous “Big Tree” of the Knysna forest where this species is most commonly found. The leaves are arranged spirally, with parallel veins, smooth margins and sharply pointed leaf tips. The tree is sensitive to drought so should receive adequate amounts of water, it is however, quite frost hardy. The common yellowwood has an average growth rate and is an extremely worthwhile garden subject. The valuable timber was used for the topmasts and yards of ships and is still highly esteemed in boatbuilding.

At TreeCo we have a large stock-holding of the Podocarpus falcatus available and urge you to place your orders with us early to avoid disappointment!

Botanical Name: Podocarpus falcatus
Common Name: Common yellowwood
Size Available: 50kg
Quantity in Stock: 200
Average Tree Height: 2.2 – 2.5m
Average Trunk Thickness: 3 – 4cm

Should you require any further information, such as pricing details or should you wish to place an order, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at

Acacia galpinii – Monkey thorn

The Acacia galpinii is the largest of the South African Acacia species. The common name, Monkey thorn, is thought to refer to the tendency of monkeys to seek refuge in these thorny trees and their fondness of feeding on the pods. The Tswana name “Mongangatau” means “the one that catches like a lion” and is attributed to the thorns that tend to catch on clothing and skin. In its natural habitat, the Acacia galpinii is preferred by large animals such as Giraffe, Kudu and Elephant to provide shelter from the sun.


Botanical Name: Acacia galpinii
Common Name: Monkey thorn
Genus: Fabaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 166


This tall handsome tree with its luxuriant foliage and wide spreading branches makes a fine specimen in large gardens and parks. Planted on a lawn, it provides dappled shade in the heat of summer. The clusters of creamy yellow, honey scented flowers create a spectacular sight and attract insects, wasps and bees to the garden, whilst many bird species prefer nesting in the Monkey thorn as it offers protection from a variety of predators. When planted as an avenue along our roadsides this fine, hardy tree looks quite stunning and for those areas where a security hedge is required the Acaia galpinii provides an impenetrable barrier if kept trimmed down. Do not plant this tree too close to buildings as it has an extensive root system.


Height: 25 – 30m
Spread: 8 – 10m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Growth Habit: Acacia galpinii occurs in open wooded grassland and along rivers and streams.
Bark: The bark is pale, flaking and creamy yellow when young, becoming brown, rough, corky and longitudinally furrowed when mature.
Foliage: The leaves of the Monkey thorn are 5.5 – 11cm long with 9 – 14 pairs of pinnae which curve down from the rachis, each bearing 13 – 40 pairs of leaflets. There are short hooked thorns at the base of the leaves. Interestingly, the leaves fold at night.
Flowers: The creamy yellow, honey scented flowers resemble bottlebrushes and are borne in clusters from October to January.
Fruit: The reddish to purple – brown pods are up to 28cm long and 3,5cm wide, ripening between February and March.
Seed: There are approximately 8 – 15 seeds per pod which are released when the pods fall to the ground.


Growing regions: The Acacia galpinii is found in Zimbabwe, Eastern Botswana and in the North West Province and Northern Province of South Africa.
Growing conditions: The Monkey thorn prefers a sunny position. Plant in a large hole to which a generous amount of compost has been added and water regularly in the first year.
Best season: Spring - Summer
Hardiness: This hardy tree can withstand hot, dry conditions and a fair amount of frost.
Propagation: To propagate, soak seed in hot water for about six hours before planting into a seedling tray with ordinary river sand.
Growth rate: Fairly fast – about 1m per year.


The Acacia galpinii is widely recognised as an indicator of sweet veld, which retains its nutritional value through winter. The wood, which is heavy and coarse grained, was used for building wagons and although the wood is difficult to work, it was often used for making good sturdy furniture. When grown from seed, the Monkey thorn is a popular subject with Bonsai enthusiasts as it can be easily trained into a variety of interesting shapes.